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Saturday, September 10, 2016

BJP botched up Mehbooba’s plan to have Vyas as CS, Mohananey as DGP

Proposal of Sahai’s deputation to CRPF put on hold despite NOC by J&K Govt

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


SRINAGAR, Sep 9: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s plan to appoint Bharat Bhushan Vyas as Chief Secretary and Avinash Mohananey as Director General of Police in Jammu and Kashmir did not find favour with the Centre as her coalition partner BJP pressed hard in favour of Braj Raj Sharma’s continuation and K. Rajendra Kumar’s succession by none other than the son of soil Dr Shesh Pal Vaid.

According to top level sources in the Government, Mehbooba had turned indignant over some senior bureaucrats’ and Police officers’ act of filing SLP in the Supreme Court of India against an order of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court that had upheld a junior judge’s order directing registration of murder case against a Deputy SP. The State judiciary had also directed contempt proceedings SSP Srinagar and IGP Kashmir for their failure to file murder case against the Deputy SP who had been accused of killing a civilian with his pistol.

The SLP set aside the orders of the State judiciary and brought relief to Jammu and Kashmir Police. Sources said Chief Minister did not want to be seen as someone protecting the Police officers accused of using excessive force against the protesters. She is said to have made it clear to the bureaucracy which ignored her direction and went ahead as per a call from New Delhi. Some concurrent political and administrative developments during the current turmoil were also instrumental behind Mehbooba’s thinking to replace Sharma and Rajendra with Vyas and Mohananey respectively.

A 1984-batch IAS officer, B.R. Sharma, who will be in service till April 30, 2020, had been appointed as Chief Secretary by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in August last year with the support of all political parties. He is a resident of Jammu and enjoyed favour from as diverse pressure groups as BJP and Congress. An IPS officer of 1984 batch, K Rajendra Kumar, who hails from Andhra Pradesh and has completed two years in the top office, is due to retire as DGP on September 30, 2016.

Sources disclosed to STATE TIMES that Vyas, who has previously held all the key postings including Principal Secretary to Governor N.N. Vohra, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed, emerged as Mehbooba’s first choice for the post of Chief Secretary. The 1986 batch IAS officer from Rajasthan, Vyas is due to retire on November 30, 2017.

Avinash Mohananey, an IPS officer of 1985 batch, who is currently DGP in Sikkim and has previously served as Joint Director of Intelligence Bureau in Srinagar, besides a stint in Pakistan, was Mehbooba’s choice as DGP of J&K.

BJP, according to the sources, asserted assiduously in support of Sharma and Vaid---both residents of Jammu. Narendra Modi Government at the Centre subsequently conveyed to Mehbooba that changing Sharma as Chief Secretary had “no justification” and it could send “wrong signals” to the bureaucracy. It also did not favour Mehbooba’s proposal to spare the Sikkim DGP for J&K. As per BJP’s calculation, it will clear decks for appointment of Dr Vaid as DGP upon Rajendra’s retirement. The 1986 batch IPS officer from Jammu, Vaid will remain in service till October 31, 2019. As and when it happens, it would be probably for the first time that Chief Secretary as well as DGP would be from Jammu.

In the Cabinet meeting on Thursday, Mehbooba did not touch B.R. Sharma but partly proceeded with her plan of getting Vyas to the level of higher decision making. The Government order tactfully played down this important bureaucratic change as if it was a temporary arrangement. “Mr. B.B Vyas, IAS, Financial Commissioner, Planning Development & Monitoring Department, shall hold the charge of the post of Principal Secretary to HCM in addition to his own duties till further orders”, it read. However, the outgoing Principal Secretary Navin Choudhary’s departments, excluding his main, Finance, were all assigned to Vyas, making him the second most important bureaucrat after Chief Secretary. Rajendra, who is due to retire on September 30, was granted extension of three months as DGP.

For some, the possibility of Vyas’ elevation to the top seat does still exist, though two Cabinet Ministers of BJP ruled it out in conversation with this newspaper.

Dr Vaid, who had been appointed as DG Prison in place of his senior, S.K. Mishra, earlier this year, was on Thursday designated as Special DG Law & Order and Coordination, giving him direct intervention in handling the current turmoil and key affairs of J&K Police, parallel to Rajendra’s continuation as DGP. This is being viewed as sidestepping of Mishra (IPS-1985) and a step of Vaid succeeding Rajendra on January 1, 2017.

Meanwhile, the dramatically floated proposal of the Central deputation of Additional DG CID, Shiv Murari Sahai, has also been put on the hold by Union Ministry of Home Affairs despite J&K Government’s NOC to his appointment as IG in CRPF. Sahai was unofficially holding the charge of DG when Rajendra was on leave in Hyderabad on July 8---the day Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed alongwith two more militants by J&K Police and Army in Bamdora village of Kokernag, in Anantnag district.



Zulfiquar posted as IG Ops CRPF Kashmir

Mr Zulfiquar Hassan (IPS) IG Operations at CRPF Directorate has been transferred and appointed as IG Operations, Kashmir, in CRPF with immediate effect. He has been posted on the place earlier vacated by Mr Nalin Prabhat. He will simultaneously hold additional charge of IG Operation CRPF Directorate. By another order issued on Thursday, P.S. Rajora, who had been earlier posted in Jammu, has now been appointed as DIG (Operations), CRPF, Awantipora.


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

Thursday, September 8, 2016

School, resthouse gutted in Kulgam; clashes continue on 61st day of shutdown in Kashmir

4 soldiers injured as militants ambush Army convoy in Kupwara

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


SRINAGAR, Sep 7: While as a school building and a government resthouse on Wednesday gutted in the clashes between the separatist protesters and the Police in Kulgam district, demonstrations and clashes continued unabated on 61st day of turmoil, following Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter on July 8.

Residents in Mirhama village of Kulgam told STATE TIMES that the protesters clashed with Police and CRPF for several hours as hundreds of people had gathered to stage a demonstration. They said that around 50 protesters sustained injuries in the clashes. According to them, a tear gas canister fired by Police and CRPF fell on the premises of Jawahar Novodaya Vidhyalaya. The school building and a parked vehicle caught fire and gutted partially.

However, officials claimed that the school building, as well as a van on the premises, was set on fire by the crowd of stone pelters. They said that just six or seven demonstrators sustained minor injuries in the clashes.

In the same district, some miscreants reportedly lobbed a petrol bomb on a government resthouse at Chawalgam where a crowd had torched PDP MP Nazir Ahmad Laway’s house on August 30. Sources said that the resthouse caught fire and it gutted partially.

Reports said that over 40 demonstrations and clashes between protesters and Police and security forces took place on Wednesday across Kashmir valley. Around a hundred people reportedly sustained minor injuries in these clashes. Almost all shops and business establishments and many of the government offices remained closed as the Valley observed shutdown on 61st consecutive day on the call of separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik.

Attendance was remarkably thin in the government offices. Traffic was as usual off the road, with the exception of a small section of private vehicles. Reports said that the stone pelters enforced shutdown at several places. At the end of the day’s shutdown at 6.00 pm, some shops opened and traffic began plying on the roads.

Meanwhile, in the second guerrilla strike in the valley plains after Burhan Wani’s death, four soldiers of Army were injured when militants ambushed a Srinagar-bound convoy near Wudipora, Kralgund, in Handwara area.

Sources said that the militants escaped. All the four injured soldiers were airlifted and rushed to Army’s 92 Base Hospital in Srinagar for medical treatment. Official sources said that three of them were critical.

Hizbul Mujahideen spokesman Burhan-ud-din claimed in telephonic calls to local news agencies that the militants of his organisation killed two soldiers and left four others injured.

Defense Spokesman, Colonel N N Joshi, said that two army men were injured after militants attacked the convoy. “Injured troopers were shifted to the hospital for treatment and are stable,” he said. He said that Army has condoned the whole area and has launched a massive search operation.

A spokesman of the Zonal Police Headquarters said that barring some stray stone pelting incidents, the overall situation remained under control throughout the valley.

“Four incidents of stone pelting were reported from Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Kupwara,” he said adding that, at these places, miscreants assembled on the roads and attempted to disturb the normal traffic and movement of people by pelting stones on vehicles, police and security force deployments.

He said about 300 miscreants assembled at Mirhama and pelted stones on police and security force deployments and set ablaze Jawahar Navodaya Vidyala School which suffered damages. “Miscreants also hurled a petrol bomb on State Rest House, Chawalgam which resulted in fire and partial damages to the rest house,” he said and added that the miscreants also pelted stones on the police and security forces.


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Youth killed, 60 injured as people fail crackdown in Anantnag

Death toll reaches 75 on 60th day of Kashmir shutdown; apple trees of two Policemen and a Sarpanch felled in Kupwara

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


SRINAGAR, Sep 6: Breakdown of Police and administrative machinery continuing on the 60th day of turmoil, following Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani’s killing in an encounter on July 8, death toll in Kashmir valley has reached 75 as a youth was killed and 60 others injured by Police and CRPF in Anantnag district of South Kashmir on Tuesday.

Informed sources said that the residents of Seer Hamadan, Anantnag, failed a post-midnight crackdown of Police and security forces on some ‘stone pelters’ with announcements on public address system at different mosques asking people to come out of their houses and force the Army withdraw.

Intense clashes took place between the protesters and Police/CRPF in which a number of civilians sustained injuries. Police failed to arrest the youths reportedly involved in some incidents of stone pelting.

In the forenoon, Police and security forces returned to the village, on Anantnag-Pahalgam Road, and thrashed a number of persons. As the angry crowds clashed with Police and security forces amid pro-Pakistan slogans, sources said that as many as 60 people sustained injuries. A 20-year-old local youth, Naseer Ahmad Bhat S/o Ghulam Hassan Bhat, faced the brunt of the firing from a pellet gun and later died at District Hospital Anantnag. He had lately completed graduation.

Residents said that a 37-year-old woman, Jameela, was among the injured who were rushed to SKIMS. Doctors later said that she was stable. Deputy Commissioner of Anantnag, Dr Syed Abid Rashid, maintained that some people clashed with the Police and failed their crackdown. “Unfortunately, a local youth was hit by pellets and he died”, DC Anantnag told STATE TIMES.

Naseer Ahmad Ganai is the 75th person to die in the Police/CRPF firing in the last 60 days of Kashmir turbulence after Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter on July 8.

Residents alleged that the Police and CRPF went berserk and they ransacked houses before lifting three persons from a load-carrier. Officials said that Police were looking for five persons who were allegedly involved in yesterday’s stone pelting.

Inspector General of Police (Kashmir) Syed Javed Mujtaba Gilani said at a news conference in Anantnag that the Seer Hamdan Woman had got injured in a stampede, not in firing from pump action guns, during clashes triggered by protests against the night raids. He said that the people were obstructing the crowd control policing which often became cause of violent protests and civilian deaths. He asserted that police and paramilitaries had been directed to exercise utmost restraint in dealing with the violent crowds.

 IGP Kashmir said that police had prepared a list of trouble-makers and raids would continue to normalize the situation in Kashmir valley.

Cops’ apple trees felled

Informed official sources in North Kashmir said that a crowd of separatists at Kawari, Hatmulla, in Kupwara district, felled some apple trees in the orchards of Constable Abid Ali Dar, his brother Constable Jaffar Ali Dar and their uncle Haji Abdul Aziz Dar who had opposed blocking of roads in his village. The family was warned of dire consequences if it opposed ‘protests’ in their area.

In the summer capital outskirts, residents of Rangret complained that Police and security forces smashed their houses’ doors and windows and roughed up a number of people. They gathered and shouted pro-Pakistan, pro-Azadi and anti-India slogans.

Reports from Bandipore said that several people sustained injuries when a clash took place between the residents and security forces. The unruly crowd pelted stones on DC’s residence. Reports from Pahlu, Kulgam, said that about a dozen protesters sustained injuries in a clash with the security forces.

Separatist demonstrations and violent clashes with Police and security forces were reported from around 30 places.

Like on every day since July 8, all shops, except pharmacies, and other business centres and educational institutions remained closed over the separatists’ call. Attendance was thin in the Government offices that functioned in defiance to the shutdown call. Traffic was off the road, though some vehicles plied in certain less involved areas.


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

SPO’s house torched in Kulgam amid growing attacks on Police

Handwara youth dies in hospital; scores of clashes, demonstrations on 59th day of shutdown in Kashmir

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


SRINAGAR, Sep 5: With the Valley drifting further into mayhem and the mob attacks increasing on the residences of Police officials and mainstream political activists, unruly separatist crowds have torched a Special Police Officer’s house in Kulgam area of South Kashmir even as an injured youth has died in hospital and scores of clashes have been reported in Kashmir on 59th consecutive day of shutdown on Monday.

Informed sources told STATE TIMES that the separatists had called for a congregation at Zanglipora, Kulgam. Police and security forces disrupted the march and clashes continued for over two hours between the demonstrators and Police. During the intermittent clashes, an unruly crowd set on fire house of one SPO, Javed Ahmad Shah, who was reportedly posted in Kulgam. People alleged that he was among the Policemen “committing atrocities” on the unarmed protesters. Police claimed he was on frisking duty and without arms as such there was no question of his committing any atrocities. His house suffered extensive damage.

In the last two months of turmoil, triggered by Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter on July 8, angry separatist protesters have burned down properties of a number of mainstream political activists, Police personnel and counterinsurgents. They include PDP’s Rajya Sabha member Nazir Ahmad Laway whose house was torched, alongwith four weapons of his guards, at Chawalgam on August 31. On September 3, the house of PDP’s Block President Gulzar Ahmad Sheikh was torched at Batpora, Kund.

A prominent counter-insurgent’s house in Kulgam, Police Station and CJM’s court at Damhal Hanjipora, Kulgam, were set on fire in the beginning of the current turmoil in July. Over 40 weapons of Police also perished in the fire that destroyed the Police Station.

According to reports, scores of Police personnel, including SHO Kulgam, have been threatened and a number of them have got themselves transferred to relatively safer areas in other districts and ranges. The worst demoralisation and sense of insecurity among Police and pro-India political workers has been reported from Kulgam district.

Death toll reaches 74

Sources said that a 17-year-old youth, Mussaib Majeed Nagoo of Sonwani, Handwara, who had got critically injured during a clash with CRPF on Sunday, breathed his last at SMHS Hospital, Srinagar, on Monday evening. With this fatality, death toll in the last 59 days of turbulence has reached 74.

Superintendent of Police, Sopore, Harmit Singh, told STATE TIMES that Mussaib had fallen on Wadora-Sonwani Road, in Langate area of Handwara, and his head had crushed against a stone when CRPF chased a crowd of the stone pelters. He said that the stone pelters had created barriers on the road with quarry stones to break the speed of the CRPF while launching daily attacks on a paramilitary camp at Wadora.

SP Sopore said that CRPF evacuated the injured youth to Sub District Hospital of Sopore wherefrom he was referred to Srinagar for specialised treatment. Admitted at SMHS Hospital, Mussaib died on Monday evening. SP said that there was no pellet, bullet or tear gas shell injury on the youth’s head or any other part of his body.

Meanwhile, near-total shutdown was observed in Kashmir valley on 59th day of the turmoil. Traffic was off the road and almost all shops, business established and educational institutions remained closed. Attendance was remarkably thin in the Government offices which functioned at district headquarters.

Reports said that scores of separatist demonstrations and clashes took place in almost all the ten districts in the Valley. Separatists’ rallies and local calls for a march to particular villages are now spreading to Budgam district in Central Kashmir and Baramulla and Bandipore districts in North Kashmir. In Budgam, two of such rallies were organised at Aarth and Khanpora. Hurriyat leader Aga Syed Hassan was held in house arrest so as to ensure that he does not create more trouble with his attendance in these rallies.

Official sources said that over 50 protesters sustained injuries in dozens of violent clashes. However, none of them was reported critical. Pro-Pakistan flags were invariably waved at all the rallies as the participants shouted pro-Pakistan and anti-India slogans.


[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]

Monday, September 5, 2016

Separatists shut their door on Rajnath’s team, leave India red faced

BJP non-committal, didn’t say whether Yechuri, Sharad, Raja, Owaisi drove to Geelani, Mirwaiz, Yasin of their own or with HM’s consent

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


SRINAGAR, Sep 4: Kashmiri separatist leaders on Sunday left the Indian nation red-faced by slamming their doors on the union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s team of the Parliament members and refusing to talk to four key members of the all-party delegation who called on Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik.

Even as the 29-member delegation of senior MPs from about 20 ruling and opposition parties arrived in Srinagar on a two-day visit to talk to “everybody” on the current turbulence, triggered by Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s killing in an encounter on July 8, nobody other than the delegations of the mainstream political parties came forward for a meeting. At SKICC, the delegation headed by Rajnath Singh interacted with the delegations from the ruling PDP besides the opposition National Conference, CPI (M) and other not-so-important mainstream political parties.

PDP leader and Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu read out a presentation which, according to the Hyderabad MP Assaduddin Owaisi, was "full of contradictions". Owaisi said on NDTV that PDP held Pakistan responsible for the Kashmir upheaval but advocated talks with the same country.

Nobody turned up from the civil society, local businessmen and other activists, who have been regularly meeting with the Indian dignitaries on such occasions, as the separatist Hurriyat Conference and different militant alliances had made it clear that there would be no talks with the delegation. They had contended that the visiting delegation of the MPs had neither mandate nor intention to discuss any solution to the Kashmir problem outside the purview of the Indian constitution. Sources said a 3-member delegation claiming to represent hitherto unknown 'Kashmir Media Association', D.P. Dhar Memorial School owner Vijay Dhar, SKUAST (K) VC Merajuddin and an unknown fruit grower from Baramulla met the delegation.

Breaking away from the delegation, five key opposition leaders---CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechuri, AIMIM President Assaduddin Owaisi, JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav, RJD leader Jayaprakash Narayan Yadav and D. Raja of CPI---drove all the way to Cheshma Shahi to meet Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq who has been lodged in a government hut which has been designated as 'Sub Jail' last week.

While the four MPs were not allowed in, Mirwaiz entertained only his frequent visitor and friend Owaisi. He, however, refused to talk to him on the Kashmir problem or the current situation. According to Owaisi, Mirwaiz was "upset over the killings" and he asserted that the separatists, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Yasin Malik, had decided that nobody of them would meet the Indian leaders as they had no mandate from their country to discuss a solution to the Kashmir problem.

Declaring J&K as a "disputed territory" before any dialogue is Hurriyat's key precondition. Though Owaisi claimed that Mirwaiz shared with him black tea and entertained him for 15 minutes, sources privy to the meeting said that it lasted for only five minutes. Owaisi stood back but the four MPs proceeded to the Police gazetted officers resthouse at Humhama and Hyderpora to try a meeting with the detained JKLF Chairman and Mr Geelani respectively. Sources said that Yasin Malik too turned the MPs back while maintaining that the separatists had decided not to meet with any of the MPs. He told them when India would "create a conducive atmosphere", they would visit them in New Delhi.

The delegation of MPs, also accompanied by PDP’s Rajya Sabha member Fayaz Ahmad Mir, reached Hyderpora and attempted to enter Geelani’s residence which had been already bolted from inside. Nobody responded to Yechuri's knocks at the door. Geelani’s men told the MPs that he would not meet anybody of them. They were disgracefully turned back amid pro-Pakistan, pro-Azadi and anti-India slogans by a motley crowd.

A joint statement later issued by Geelani, Mirwaiz and Yasin Malik said, “In politics, India has deployed deceit, double talk, themselves and through their quislings, continuously for the past 70 years. These deceitful methods of crisis management through parliamentary delegations and Track-II only prolong the sufferings of the people and can’t take the place of a genuine, transparent, agenda-based dialogue to address the core issue of the people’s right to self-determination in Jammu and Kashmir".

Questioned over embarrassment to the top Indian parliamentarians, BJP leaders from New Delhi to Srinagar remained non-committal on whether the four opposition MPs had visited the separatists of their own or with the consent of the head of the delegation and union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. However, Yechuri, Raja, Owaisi and Yadav maintained that they had called on Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik in “individual capacity”.

The Hurriyat leaders and the JKLF Chairman had already rejected Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s invitation for dialogue with the all-party delegation, calling her government “a civilian mask to a brutal military occupation”. They had said in a statement that the delegation was nothing but a “deceitful method of crisis management”.

Hurriyat (Mirwaiz) spokesman Shahid-ul-Islam said that two members of the delegation, including Owaisi, called on Mirwaiz at Cheshma Shahi Sub Jail but Mirwaiz refused to talk to them on the Kashmir crisis. While shaking hands with Owaisi, Mirwaiz told him that he would not talk to them either on Kashmir issue or on the two-month-long turmoil.

The JKLF spokesman said that the Indian delegation was taken directly to Yasin Malik’s room at a Police Station in Humhama near Srinagar Airport. Malik refused to meet the MPs with the argument that they had no mandate to talk to the separatists outside the Indian constitution. According to JKLF spokesman, he pointed out to the MPs that the leader of their delegation and union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had already made it clear publicly that the team’s deliberation would be strictly under the purview of the Indian constitution. He emphasised that there was no point in talking to the MPs.

Malik, according to the spokesman, said that it was the separatists' considered decision that they would not talk to anybody on a solution within Indian constitution.

LeT showers praise

In a press release, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba spokesman Dr Abdullah Ghaznavi said that by refusing to meet the Indian parliamentary delegation the Kashmiri separatist leaders had "conveyed a clear message to world community that the people of Kashmir were demanding only freedom from India". LeT chief Mehmood Shah, according to the statement, said that right to self-determinations was the "birth right of every Kashmiri".

He said “using bullets, pellets, tear gas shells and other weapons to foil the protest rallies in Anantnag, Shopian, Kupwara, Kulgam and other districts is an open example of Indian terrorism.”

 The LeT chief said “at a time when the all-party delegation arrived in the Valley, the innocent people of Kashmir were maimed by the forces. He appealed the international human rights groups to look into the issue. Shah, as per the statement, paid tributes to the youths killed during the clashes and also prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.


All-party delegation meets Governor

Srinagar, Sep 4: Governor N.N. Vohra on Sunday evening had discussions with the all-party delegation led by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, at Raj Bhawan. The Governor briefed the delegation about current political situation in the State and some of the measures which need to be taken for the restoration of peace and normalcy.

The delegation comprised Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley; Union Minister of Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan; Minister of State for the Development of North Eastern Region in Prime Minister’s Office Dr Jitendra Singh; Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress) Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha; Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress), Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha; Sharad Yadav JD (U); Anandrao Adusa (Shiv Sena); Thota Narasimham (T.D.P); Prem Singh Chandumajra (S.A.D); Biswajit Dalmary (B.P.F.); Tariq Anwar (NCP); Dr. P. Venugopal (AIADMK); Prof. Saugata Roy (AITC); Dilip Tirkey (BJD); Sitaram Yechury, (CPI(M)); Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav (RJD); D. Raja, (CPI); Dushyant Chautala, (INLD); E. Ahmad (IUML); and Tiruchi Siva (DMK).


J&K Govt. delegation led by CM meets APD

Mehbooba for instituting institutionalised mechanism for dialogue, resolution


SRINAGAR, Sep 4: Welcoming the visit of the all-party delegation to J&K, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has called for creating an institutionalised mechanism for dialogue and resolution of the Kashmir issue.

Interacting with the visiting APD at SKICC here this afternoon, Chief Minister stressed the need for creating a new basis of legitimacy for the peace and resolution process to take shape. “The need of the hour is to revive the reconciliation and resolution process through an institutionalized mechanism involving all the stakeholders,” she said and added that the challenge before the leadership of the State and the country was to insulate the process against the setbacks that have derailed political initiatives in the past.

“All of us are deeply concerned about the painful situation existing in Kashmir and a credible and meaningful political dialogue and resolution process has to be initiated to end the stalemate,” Mehbooba said and added that it is a welcome step that cutting across the party lines and political positions, the country’s political leadership has reached out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Chief Minister said that all the mainstream political parties and separatist leadership in the State voice the urges and aspirations of the people and seek a lasting resolution of the problems confronting Jammu and Kashmir.  “In the ‘Agenda of Alliance’, which is the basis of our government formation with our alliance partners, BJP, it has been made clear that the State Government would create conditions to facilitate resolution of all issues and help initiate a sustained and meaningful dialogue with all the stakeholders, including all political groups in J&K irrespective of their ideological views and predilections to build a broad based consensus on resolution of all outstanding issues of J&K,” she said.

Mehbooba expressed hope that the visit of the all-party delegation would be the first step towards putting in place an institutionalized mechanism for the lasting resolution of the issue to make peace and stability a reality in the State and the region.

Earlier, Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu gave a detailed presentation regarding the political, economic and developmental challenges confronting J&K and a possible roadmap on how to pull the State out of the morass.

The State Government delegation which was headed by the Chief Minister also included Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh, Minister for R&B, Abdul Rehman Veeri and Minister for Social Welfare, Sajad Gani Lone.


Separatist leadership reacts to Mehbooba’s invitation

‘Mehbooba aware that Indian war machine is on a spree to kill, maim Kashmiris’

SRINAGAR, Sep 04: Reacting to the PDP President Mehbooba Mufti’s invitation for meeting the Indian Parliamentary delegation, resistance leadership Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik in a joint statement has said that Nobody is more aware than Mehbooba Ji that the Indian war machine is on a spree to kill, maim and disfigure an entire population into complete submission for demanding freedom from Indian occupation which is the birth right of all human beings.

 Unfortunately Indian occupation forces in J&K have a fig-leaf available in the shape of a quisling government fronted by her with the only brief to provide a civilian mask to a brutal military occupation. Despite killings and injuries of war-proportions she continues to perform shamelessly this role of obfuscation.

 They further said that given this situation it is not surprising that even now her dominant concern, as expressed in her letter, is to ``lend credence and credibility`` to the Indian Parliamentary Delegation visiting Kashmir avowedly to ascertain wishes of the people. Everyone knows that people have been shouting AAZADI on the roads for those who want to listen and writing on walls and placards for those who can see. The dirty ambitions of the collaborators and their masters in Delhi have turned them deaf and blind.

 While commenting on Mehbooba Ji’s outburst a few days, the resistance leadership said that the sickness of her mind touched a new low when she recently tried to justify the Indian brutalities by saying that Kashmiri boys don’t go out to the camps with milk and toffees; that seemed to even embarrass her Indian boss sitting beside. They should not have forgotten that a terrorised population cannot greet an occupation army but with stones.

 Resistance leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik said that Indian engagement with the people of Jammu and Kashmir has been only through state violence perpetrated through these armed forces that have killed close to a lakh and brutalised all of the population. In politics India has deployed deceit, double talk, themselves and through their quislings, continuously for the past 70 years. These deceitful methods of crisis management through Parliamentary Delegations and Track-II only prolong the sufferings of the people and can`t take the place of a genuine transparent agenda-based dialogue to address the core issue of the Peoples` right to self-determination in Jammu and Kashmir. That has been our consistent stand and has been spelled out recently as well in our letters to various international and global fora.

 They once again clarified that one fails to understand what hope to attach with a delegation which has neither spelled out its mandate for any engagement on a clear agenda. People know that it is the same parliament which has given unfettered powers to their occupying force to use violence to hold Jammu and Kashmir forcibly with India against all norms of civilised behaviour and international law resulting in death, destruction, collective punishments and humiliation.


Sunday, September 4, 2016

PDP block president’s house torched for arranging Mehbooba’s visit to Kulgam family

Youth dies in Qazigund clash; death toll reaches 73; ‘non-Muslim’s body’ surfaces in Jhelum

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


SRINAGAR, Sep 3: Close on the heels of burning down PDP MP Nazir Ahmad Laway’s house in Chawalgam, Kulgam, separatists on Saturday have torched the house of PDP’s block president for arranging Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s visit to a family which has lost a member in the current turmoil in the same district in South Kashmir.

Informed sources told STATE TIMES that Chief Minister and President of PDP Mehbooba Mufti flew to Kulgam area by helicopter along with her maternal uncle and PDP leader Mohammad Sartaj Madani. She called on the bereaved family of one Mashooq Ahmad Sheikh at Kraloo, Kund, who had got killed in August in security forces’ firing while participating in a demonstration in the wake of the Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter.

Reports said that Mehbooba extended her condolences and sympathies to the bereaved family and assured them full support from her government. As soon as she emerged out of the family, a number of the residents gathered and staged a protest demonstration, holding her responsible for over 70 civilian killings in the last 57 days of the turbulence. DC and other officers escorted her back to the helicopter and she returned to Srinagar.

Within hours, hundreds of the separatist protesters gathered at the residence of PDP’s block president Gulzar Ahmad Sheikh at Batpora in Kund area while levelling allegation that he had arranged Chief Minister’s visit to the Kulgam family. They set his house on fire. However, another report said that the protesters had asked the PDP leader to secure release of three detainees and threatened that in case of his failure they would destroy his house. As the PDP leader failed to get the detainees released, the protesters torched his house.

On August 31, separatist protesters had burned down PDP MP Nazir Ahmad Laway’s house at Chawalgam, Kulgam.

Body fished out at Amirakadal

Here in the summer capital, hundreds of residents of Amirakadal area gathered at Hari Sigh High Street in the evening after an unidentified male body was spotted and fished out of river Jhelum near Gonikhan market. Tension prevailed in the area as the shops that had opened after the day’s shutdown at 6.00 pm, were again shut.

SSP Srinagar Amit Kumar told STATE TIMES that the gathering levelled allegations that Police and security forces had tortured or shot dead a Kashmiri protester whose body had been thrown in Jhelum. He said that without waiting for identification, the gathering performed funeral prayers at Hari Singh High Street and the demonstrators began carrying the body for another namaaz-e-janazah at Lalchowk. Police swung into action and took the body into custody for identification and medico-legal formalities.

“It was a semi-decomposed body with apparently no bullet, pellet or shell injuries. It appears that the body had been under water for three or four days. It had a swollen face. Apparently the deceased appeared to be a Nepali. The body had ‘Om’ and a Trishul mark tattooed on one arm which made it clear that the deceased was a non-Muslim. Subsequently, we observed that the genital organ was without circumcision. It is clear enough that the deceased is a non-Muslim and mostly likely a non-local. We don’t have any missing reports but we have ordered an inquest”, SSP Srinagar said.

Youth killed in Kulgam

Reports from Kulgam added that in the evening, people recovered the body of a 17-year-old Basit Ahmad Ahangar of Vessu, Qazigund, from a roadside nullah along Srinagar-Jammu highway, near Vessu. It was rushed to District Hospital Anantnag where doctors found pellets in one leg and a severe wound in the deceased youth’s head. Officials claimed that Basit had apparently fled while being chased with a crowd of stone pelters. He seemed to have fallen or jumped into the nullah. His head seemed to have smashed against a hard surface or a rock, possibly causing his death.

Official sources said that the post mortem would be conducted on Sunday and it could make clear whether the youth had died of falling in the nullah or he had sustained a bullet or tear gas shell injury in his head. With this, death toll in the last 57 days of current turbulence has risen to 73.

On the 57th consecutive day of shutdown, following Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter on July 8, around 60 clashes took place between the protesters and Police/CRPF across turbulent Kashmir valley on Saturday. Official sources said that over 200 protesters sustained injuries in these clashes. The most violent clashes were reported from Beerwah in Budgam district and Rainipora in Anantnag district. As many as 70 people were reportedly injured in the two clashes.

Police version

According to a statement issued by Zonal Police Headquarters, curfew was lifted from Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian and Baramulla and most parts of Srinagar today. “However, curfew remained in force in the areas falling under the Police Stations of Maisuma, Batamaloo, Khanyar, Safakadal, Nowhatta, Rainawari and M R Gunj,” the statement said.

It said that 12 incidents of stone-pelting were reported from Srinagar, Budgam, Anantnag, Sopore and Kupwara. “At these places, miscreants assembled on the roads and attempted to disturb the normal traffic and movement of people by pelting stones on vehicles and on police and security force deployments,” the statement said. “Barring these incidents of stray stone pelting, the overall situation remained under control,” said the statement issued in the evening.

[Published in today's STATE TIMES]